Bob and Kristi Rice (PCUSA) - August 2016 Update

Democratic Republic of Congo

Dear friends,

Warm greetings from Bloomington, Illinois! It has been a blessing to be back in the States and to enjoy time with family and friends, and to even witness and experience the changing of the seasons (Bob was taught how to use a snow blower!). This year we are in the United States for our Interpretation Assignment and several months of personal leave. During this time we hope to have a short respite but also make meaningful connections with supporting churches and individuals, helping to interpret the work of the church in Congo so that American Christians feel connected to our sisters and brothers in that part of the world.

A member of the savings group sells dried fish in the market (Kananga)

A member of the savings group sells dried fish in the market (Kananga)

While in the United States we will continue to communicate periodically with colleagues in Congo about updates of ministry projects. This time away gives our colleagues a chance to step up and make these ministries move forward without us. Our goal is to empower our Congolese colleagues rather than to initiate or lead ministries ourselves – this time away is a good opportunity on all sides to assess priorities and review how we can empower them as they seek to build God’s Kingdom in Congo.

We recently reflected on some highlights from the last year. We want to share with you a few of the ways that we have seen God at work through the church in Congo. We hope this will encourage you as you partner with us.

Savings Groups
In late May 2015 Kristi and colleague Mamu Victorine Manga attended a training event for “Rural Savings and Loans Groups” conducted in Togo. The vision is to empower women to form savings groups, including members from the church and also the community, so that they would have a vehicle for saving money and getting loans in a supportive social group. This year Mamu Victorine and Kristi and a couple of other colleagues have been able to start three savings groups in the presbytery of Kankala on the outskirts of the city center of Kananga. They were also able to visit savings groups in Kabeya Kamuanga and Mbuji-Mayi to learn about what is being done and could be done in other regions. We are very excited about these initiatives. 

Reconciliation Ministry
In July two Congolese colleagues and Bob participated in the International School of Reconciliation (ISOR) in Kigali, Rwanda, sponsored by Mercy Ministries. In collaboration with our partner, the Congolese Presbyterian Community (CPC), Presbyterian World Mission (PWM) saw the need for this training and provided timely funding to make this training and ministry possible. The training in Rwanda was an amazing experience and has led to some awesome fruit in Congo. So far we have been able to facilitate two healing and reconciliation workshops, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Please pray with us that God continues to use these workshops for healing and reconciliation in Congo.

Church leaders take their pain to the Cross of Christ (Central Kasai Province)

Church leaders take their pain to the Cross of Christ (Central Kasai Province)

Pastoral Institutes
With support from PWM our Evangelism Department has been able to provide additional annual support for the operational expenses of the three Pastoral Institutes. Moreover, in partnership with the Booth Leadership Initiative (BLI), a ministry of The Outreach Foundation, our Department has been able to build new classrooms and a vocational training institute for the Pastoral Institute of Mutoto. Also, our Department has been able to forge a new partnership with Langham Partners UK (John Stott Ministries), providing theology textbooks to the all three Pastoral Institutes of the Congolese Presbyterian Community (CPC).

Church Building Project
In August we consecrated a new church building that our Department raised funds to rebuild after a horrific windstorm destroyed the church building in August 2010. On a separate note, also as a result of our partnership with the Booth Leadership Initiative and The Outreach Foundation, our Department is currently helping churches build roofs and tackle other infrastructural issues. To date we have assisted seven churches with these needs and have money earmarked to help another 24 congregations with their roofing needs. The goal of this program is to provide “seed money” to encourage churches in the building process.
Please pray for us as we continue to serve in these ways. Thank you, as always, for your financial support and prayers. Please know that our service in Congo could not be possible without your partnership. God willing, we will see you this year!

Grace and Peace,

Bob and Kristi

Read more about the Rice's ministry by clicking HERE.

Amount needed in 2016

The Outreach Foundation seeks to raise at least $10,000 for Bob and Kristi Rice's support. To make a donation, click HERE.

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